j4: (back)
It's been so long since I've posted anything of substance that I've basically forgotten how to do this. HOW DO I EVEN LIVEJOURNAL. So I'm just going to type and see what comes out, and then post it and then feel awful about it for a while and be avoidant about looking at the comments and oh you know how it goes.

Seriously, though, I feel like I literally don't remember how to write anything longer-form than a tweet. A series of tweets, maybe. "(1/3)". Like trying to make a speech while struggling to keep your head above water, shouting it out in gulps of air. It feels like the internet's all broken and polluted now anyway, no air between things; we didn't used to have a word for "content" when it was all content. Not that I was, of course. I guess in some ways I'm more content now, more settled -- or set -- in my ways, less inclined to stand for certain brands of bullshit. Oh god though listen to me, puffing out hot air like a pompous great wheezing walrus, "I am this, I am that", words, words, and do you see what I did there, and besides. Is any one of us not basically just wandering around in the dark? Maybe running our hands over the outlines of something half-perceived, or maybe just petulantly kicking something and hoping it isn't a wasps' nest?

I had a voice in here somewhere.

Memory goes, but not memories. I can't always remember the name of the thing any more. (It was all there, only the names were not.) Things I thought I had stored in my head turn out to be broken links, digital husks; but the fingertips of past relationships come reaching out of the mist, too too solid (oh, for goodness' sake, stop that, you are not Lord Hamlet (no, stop that, too)), and the old music gets louder, the needle returns to the -- no, don't force it, you can hear it if you just listen.

The bits that make sense are decoupling like a slow-motion explosion. Blow the bloody doors off and see all the people.

The things in my life I want to write about have too much backstory, they're compromised by context, they're anchored to things I can't say. They're shot through with the threads of other people's secrets, and untangling my own loose weave will mean unravelling other people's hidden seams. Everything is tied to someone else; sometimes it feels like every thing in the world is a place where something, a thing I was doing when. The smell of his aftershave, 10 years later, still makes me turn my head. The arms of his jumper around my shoulders. Hooks in my flesh.

Maybe if I stack up enough half-sentences they'll start becoming.
j4: (kanji)
So there's a thing in my brain that I want to write about but it's so huge and many-tentacled that I can't possibly wrestle it out of my head in one go, and I know that if I try to pull it out one limb at a time you'll all say "but that's not a genuine many-tentacled thing" or it'll keep crawling back in faster than I can drag it out. I'm not even sure if it is a many-tentacled thing or if it's actually something more like a mist or a colour that's seeped into my pores. Maybe it's a disease, or a new skin that I'm growing. I can't tell. Maybe it's a hopeless metaphor for a formless malaise.

I also don't know who's reading this any more. I'm terrible at keeping up with reading LJ myself, so I feel I can't really ask other people to read/comment on what I write; and while I sit there chewing my fingernails in that particular dark cave of fail, lots of beautiful friendships melt away. Who's reading this? Who's out there? Have you all gone to Dreamwidth? Should I follow you, or are we all just slowly dispersing into adulthood or beyond?

I don't know where I am. Or rather, I know where I am, but I don't know where anything else is. Either way, it's a bit cloud-tangled and mapless in here. Perhaps if someone shouts or shines a torch I'll be able to figure out where the voice or light is coming from.
j4: (fruithat)
Happy new year! And a very belated merry Christmas, since I never posted anything for that either.

I think this is the last day I can legitimately get away with using my fruithat icon, even though ACTUALLY twelfth night is INTERESTINGLY not today but last night and we are already courting BAD LUCK by having taken the decorations down tonight. Anyway. It's 2014! There are a lot of 'review of the year' things going round but I already can't remember anything that happened last year. I spent the last 3 months of it with a hideous cough and the previous 3 months feeling faily about work and before that I have no idea, though I definitely read some books somewhere along the line.

I didn't really make any new year's resolutions this year either, which doesn't mean that I don't feel the need to improve anything in my life, but is more an indication of my current level of confidence in actually achieving anything, viz.: approximately zero. I made vague resolutions to go running more often and to have more fun, but have no idea how to go about achieving the latter and feel too apathetic to do the former (also at the moment it would be more like swimming anyway). In the meantime I guess I will read some more books and try to stop Img falling off anything particularly high.
j4: (livejournal)
I've decided to make the last few posts (but not this one obviously) friends-only, because they're largely about Img and nursery and stuff and I suspect I probably should be a bit more circumspect about who reads them (though obviously the NSA is still reading them anyway, and Google is probably projecting them on to the moon as we speak). To be honest I should probably make this whole journal friends-only since I have other public blogs for stuff I actively want to make public (as opposed to stuff I'm not too worried about people seeing). It used to be a point of principle that my LJ was entirely public except for very occasional admin posts about change of address, but I'm not really sure what that principle is any more, and I suspect it doesn't apply when I'm posting about someone who doesn't get a say in it. I also suspect that having points of principle about LJ is like having strong opinions about daguerrotypes or something.

(Is there a way to make only posts after a certain date friends-only? Or only posts with a certain tag? There are a few posts I want to keep public. Maybe I should just put them somewhere else. And then I think oh really who cares, only 12 people read this anyway. 12 people and Google and the NSA.)

It's been fun to watch people unfriending me as I post stuff though (I'm guessing it's not so much the content as "oh I forgot she was on my friends list but now she's started posting again, can't remember who she is anyway"). Ah, the drama llamas of yesteryear. To be honest the friendslist angst all seems pretty trivial now compared with the real feeling that my actual friends (some of whom are also my LJ friends, of course) are slipping further and further away from me in time and place and connectedness and it's not some kind of big drama, it's just that people sort of softly and suddenly vanish away. I am very bad at taking people off 'friends lists' but it's starting to feel like the people-I-sorta-like-but-basically-never-see-or-talk-to are diluting the actual friendships (though this is more of a problem on Facebook where I'm 'friends' with loads of people I haven't seen or significantly thought about for a quarter of a century. Need to do something about that.) Maybe that's silly and maybe it doesn't make any difference and maybe the real problem is that I'm a dreadful correspondent or that the people I want to stay friends with just aren't that into me. Not fishing for compliments here, just musing on the way friendships change and the way everything seems to get stretched thinner as I get older.

So tired.
j4: (hair)
There's feeling full of fail, and then there's feeling full of existential fail. I've spent most of today wanting to curl up under the desk in a little ball and howl like an over-tired toddler. I was working for the Department of Fail, which always saps my will to live -- they're not really inherently full of fail, but I and my colleague J. are contracted to work a few days for them and so all the problems they save up for us are the things that are either a) completely intractable and/or incomprehensible, b) sufficiently bitty and faffy that nobody has ever had a chance to sit down and really get them, or c) enormous cans of worms (these are invariably simple-looking tasks, and for all I know they may be given to us in all innocence, but they turn out to be many-headed sharp-fanged fail-hydras from the Dark Places). It doesn't help that the DoF is also located in a vast open-plan office, flickery-fluorescent-lit, and dry as a desert; being there makes me feel exhausted and drained and even more queasy than I was already starting to feel.

[Yes, I know I'm lucky to have a job at all, and I shouldn't complain. And I know I'm lucky that I'm not suffering (yet, so far) from all the horrible things that can go wrong in pregnancy, so I should be practically rejoicing at tiredness and a bit of recurring queasiness. And depression is all in the mind so it can't be that bad. And the Tories will fix everything if we just let them get on with it.]

Today was a day of cans of worms involving javascript and CMS horrors )

During all this fail-wrestling I was keeping a vague eye on twitter in the hope of getting some voices of sanity filtering in through all the madness, but in fact it just made things worse: it was a non-stop stream of rants and shouting, flickering away in the background like the last TV fuzzily broadcasting the apocalypse, showing the world falling apart while I was stuck inside designing better deckchairs for the Titanic. And outside it got darker and colder and I didn't want to stay in the Department of Fail but I didn't want to go out into the cold either, and every time I get home I feel like I don't ever want to go out again, but every time I look around me here I feel as though everything is a reminder of some kind of brokenness (inside or out) which I should have either fixed or got rid of, and I want to hide from it, and there's nowhere left to hide except going to bed, and even that doesn't help because I'm uncomfortable and I sleep badly, and going to sleep just means waking up into another day of fail.

And there's not enough time left before everything runs out of time. Working days, days before Christmas, days before the baby arrives ... days before the end of something, of everything. When I die they'll cut me open and find nothing inside but small charred fragments of to-do lists.
j4: (badgers)
Today my mum took me and [livejournal.com profile] addedentry to a garden centre and bought us an apple tree (a Worcester Pearmain), as well as some other smaller tasty plants (tomatoes, peppers, and blueberry bushes). Digging a hole big enough for even such a tiny tree takes a surprising amount of time and effort. We also planted the hazel sapling from my parents' garden; meanwhile, the hawthorn saplings [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies gave us are flourishing. We are literally putting down roots here.

The eventual plan for the garden is that everything should be edible; the main exceptions at the moment are the daffodils, crocuses, and rather lurid primulas which we planted hastily to stop the garden looking quite so much like a post-apocalyptic wasteland (it worked!), though our definition of 'edible' includes anything Richard Mabey thinks you can eat, which allows quite a lot of leeway.

The best thing about the garden, though, is that we have a BADGER! OK, we've only actually seen it in next door's garden, not ours (we've seen a fox and a hedgehog in ours, though) but given the mess it's made of theirs I'm quite happy with that. I tried to get a photo but you can only really tell it's a badger if you already know. But, really, an ACTUAL LIVE BADGER!

We've definitely made more progress with the garden than with the house; while the garden's growing, the house is falling down. OK, that's a slight exaggeration: it's suffering from a small amount of subsidence, which has caused cracks to appear all over the place. The buildings insurance people think this is a) probably due to defective drains (as opposed to, say, tunnelling badgers), and b) probably not covered by our insurance because we were sort of warned that it was a possibility in the survey. It has taken them weeks and weeks to do anything, and we're still waiting for the results of the investigation of the drains. I was horribly worried about it at first, and it certainly added to the general hiding-under-a-rock stress; but you can't sustain that level of worry for this long, and the house hasn't actually fallen down, so now I am just wishing they would hurry up and tell us how much it will cost.

The subsidence does mean that pretty much everything else to do with the inside of the house is suffering from planning blight, though; realistically, we weren't going to have redecorated everything by now (my parents still haven't redecorated everything in their house, and they've lived there for 24 years now), but we were hoping to get started on sorting out the kitchen. We still don't have an oven, but it's not a big deal. Maybe we don't need an oven after all (at least two people now have said we should get a Remoska instead). It would feel slightly odd making a deliberate choice not to have an oven, to get the kitchen refitted without leaving room for one; but probably no odder than it would feel to a lot of people not to have a TV.

On the other hand, not having a TV doesn't really mean it's impossible to watch TV; it's just impossible to watch it live. We watched the whole first series of Glee (if you don't know what Glee is -- and given that I don't often watch TV, I don't take it for granted that everybody knows about every TV show -- then the Wikipedia entry will explain with no spoilers above the fold) suffering the indignity of being a week behind the rest of the UK because 4OD didn't release the episodes until they'd shown the repeat. Episodes! Repeats! Things I hadn't thought about at all since I last watched TV regularly, back in the late 1990s. I tried to persuade [livejournal.com profile] addedentry to do the bittorrent thing so we could get the next episodes quicker, but he wouldn't, and I don't know how (honestly! I've just never done it). We also watched the first episode of the new Dr Who (it is probably internet heresy to say that I don't really get Dr Who, but, well) despite nearly being put off by the utterly rubbish bit with the food at the beginning.

There's lots of other things I want to write about but I don't really know where to start, and more and more I feel as though LiveJournal isn't really the place to write about them, because I feel like I don't know anybody here very well any more. I don't have real conversations with very many people any more at all, and that's my fault for not being good at keeping up friendships, but it still feels like I've retreated into a dark empty room somehow and I don't quite know how to come back to the party, because everything is elsewhere, and I'm not totally sure that it wouldn't be better just to slip away home in the dark without another word.
j4: (hair)
This is going to be One Of Those Posts. Last chance to look away now.

I lost myself I cannot speak )
j4: (hair)
Part of the problem is the general feeling of drawing-in.

The nights are getting longer, and at this time of year many people feel a general sense of wanting to curl up indoors, draw the curtains, switch on the lights, play some music, and generally pile up the defences against the driving rain and the dark. It's not just that, though. I've felt for months -- maybe even a year, maybe more, hard to say, it's a slow-growing thing -- as though I was curling in on myself, pulling the duvet over my head, closing the door, slowly shutting down, fading to the little dot in the centre of the screen. I don't know why. I'm not particularly unhappy; I'm busy at work and stressed about some things but mostly still enjoying the job; I'm doing other things outside work -- outgoing things (singing, volunteering at Oxfam, going out and seeing friends) and quieter things (reading, playing piano, pottering around the house and the garden). The stress of house-moving and builders and so on was horrible and made me want to hide under a rock more than usual, and there are still far too many things to do round the house and not enough time/money to do them all... but on a day-to-day basis we can live with it just fine. We still don't have a kitchen really, but we can cook enough to keep ourselves fed, we're eating reasonably healthily, I get plenty of exercise from cycling and running, there is nothing objectively wrong, everything is basically okay.

And I feel like there's a big glass wall around me and it stops any of the noise coming in or getting out.

I talk to people all the time, I receive and send dozens of emails a day, I make phone calls, I even get up and go and talk to people at work (and in a department full of people who don't like social interaction that's mildly unusual). I go out in the evenings fairly often, I talk to friends in the pub, I phone my parents at least once a fortnight. Objectively I'm a functioning social being. But in my head I feel as though the volume is turned down to barely above zero. When I'm actually in the midst of social interaction I feel fine (apart from the usual occasional angst about whether people think I'm just faking it, whether I sound like an idiot ... in short all the usual minor anxieties that result from only having direct knowledge of your own thought processes and having to infer, guess, assume, or put up with not knowing other people's), but when I'm on my own... it's like the way phones these days seem to cut back to total silence, not even hiss on the line, when nobody's speaking. For a moment there you think you've been cut off, the line's gone dead, the mist has descended, the whole world outside your mind has vanished. Don't you? Maybe you just think "the line's gone a bit quiet". That's fine. In that case, think of it like going high enough up somewhere that the pressure in your ears goes funny and everything goes quieter until you yawn or swallow and suddenly it goes "pop" and you can hear again. What I'm talking about is the bit before the "pop". Mentally, metaphorically, it feels like that.

I don't know where I'm going with this. I'm just trying to write something every day, to keep the channels open, to check there's still someone on my end of the line, to flex the muscles. And (at the risk of sounding pre-emptively ungrateful) I don't want heaps of comments telling me how the GI diet or early nights or counselling or whatever diet/therapy/lifestyle change you're thinking of (no, "this one" isn't different) would help: that's not the point and I don't need help. The point -- insofar as there is one -- is just... wondering where it all goes. And whether I have any interest in finding it again.
j4: (roads)
I swear if one more person has a go at me for being unhappy about our boiler having broken down (along the lines of "Surely you wouldn't put the heating on this early in the year anyway?" with optional extra snark of "I thought you were one of those green/eco-warrior/hippy types?") I will not be held responsible for the violence of my response.

Our house has basically no insulation apart from the double glazing. There are blinds instead of curtains in most of the rooms. Yes, these are things we need to fix, but we only moved in 8 weeks ago, we only have finite amounts of money, there are only 24 hours in a day and we both work full-time. Our energy usage has been consistently much lower than the national average for the last few years, and we're still working to decrease it further. We don't fly, we don't drive, we don't have a vast home cinema, we don't run servers at home that have to be on all the time. I'm not suggesting we're some kind of saints, but we're already doing a lot to reduce unnecessary energy use. We don't generate much waste.

No, I wouldn't have the heating on all the time at the moment (all the time we're there, I mean -- obviously I wouldn't have it on when we're out!), though I would use hot water for washing (and I bet all the people who are having a go at me do too). Yes, I can wear extra jumpers. Yes, I can wear gloves in the house. Yes, I can make cups of tea and wrap my hands around them. But I'm sleeping in two layers of thermals with a hot water bottle and I'm still cold at night, the floors are cold even with socks and slippers, my toes are usually numb, and there's a deep cold in the air that makes me even more tired and miserable than I already am. Also, in cold conditions my extremities basically stop circulating properly (Reynaud's syndrome). Fingerless gloves don't really help, and there is a limit to what I can do when I'm wearing full gloves. I'd do more baking (which would help to heat the kitchen and adjoining living room) but we don't have a working oven, and when we use the hob (portable one-ring electric) or toaster it sets the smoke alarm off, and Owen doesn't like any of the food I make so cooking is always just misery anyway. Maybe we should be living and sleeping in one room, and blocking up all the doorways, nailing blankets over the windows, eating nothing but porridge (he doesn't mind that). Maybe there are better ways to fix the problem more permanently. Every morning I cycle along the towpath, and most mornings I find myself wondering if one quick and straightforward way to save energy and solve a whole host of other problems into the bargain would be to fill my pockets with heavy stones and just cycle straight off the path into the river.

Post hoc

Oct. 7th, 2009 10:48 pm
j4: (hair)
You may have noticed that the attempt to post something every day has gone the same way as pretty much everything else this month, viz., the way of EPIC FAIL.

Work continues mostly stressful and unhappy for reasons which are mostly completely outwith my control; the weather has gone all drizzly and miserable; choir has become less of a respite from work-style stress because of personality clashes; I keep getting bitten by nasty insects; and now the boiler has just packed in, leaking all over the kitchen floor (thankfully before we started getting a new kitchen fitted).

þæs ofereode, þisses swa mæg.

To try to offset the fail, a short list of positive things:

* the Installation of the new Vice-Chancellor yesterday was interesting, and a good chance to swan (jackdaw?) around in a borrowed gown
* I have pulled up about a million miles of deeply-embedded nettle roots from something that may one day be a flower-bed in our garden
* Warneford Meadow Apple Day one weekend, and Wolvercote Community Orchard's Apple Day the next, have together allowed us to sample a lot of tasty apples and local produce (it is amusing that "produce" nearly always means jam and cake rather than, say, soup, or bread).
* We have discovered that Tesco on Cowley Road do an incredible range of interesting Polish and Jamaican foods. Salt fish! Apple mint juice! Weird biscuity things! Tasty snack! ([livejournal.com profile] addedentry vetoed the gigantic jar of sauerkraut, sadly.)
* It is lovely having a piano in the house and being able to play it while knowing that there is nobody behind the adjoining wall who might be tutting and objecting to the noise (I am competent enough that it's mostly fairly tuneful noise, but the music might not be to everybody's taste).
* Friends and kittens are a great comfort.
j4: (admin)
I was thinking about trying to do a post a day for October instead of the now-traditional NaNoNoNoNoNoThere'sNoQualityControl November thing, but the Black Dog of depression got me by the ankle and wouldn't let go. However, consider this a slightly delayed, slightly bruised and slightly frayed-metaphorical-trousered opening to the slightly tedious (for reader if not for writer, and that's a big if) task of trying to post something every day in October. Why? Because I want to get back into the habit of writing; because I have a few things I want to talk about; because you've got to do something other than sit in the dark rocking gently and chewing on a teabag, sometimes, haven't you? ... haven't you?

Part of the reason for the unexpected and unwelcome Act of Dog was the ongoing restructuring shenanigans which seem to be going on at work. I didn't expect to be so unsettled by what is effectively just a minor internal game of musical chairs, it's not as if my job is at risk (or if it is, then there are plenty of people ahead of me in the firing-line) but a) some of the specifics of the intended reshuffle didn't look like much fun from my point of view (likely move to less-interesting work; possible change of line-manager to someone I would probably find harder to work for/with) and b) more importantly, the ongoing uncertainty, rumour-mongering and indecision was making me feel as though everything was provisional, everything was planning-blighted, and everything was more pointless than usual. Being given the impression that it's not worth starting anything long-term is not good for motivation or avoiding avoidance. But a big part of the problem was that it felt as though the whole question was hanging on the whim of one or two people, and my attempts to ask serious questions about how those people were going to decide how to redraw the lines (show working!) were all met with "it's obvious, we'll take everything into consideration" (what, everything, including the completely irreconcilable wishes of lots of irrational individuals?), "how should I know?" (well, duh, it's your job to know, that's why you get paid 10K a year more than I do) and "oh, stop taking everything so seriously".

It was the last of these that upset me most, really, because a) it was said by someone whose opinion of me matters somewhat more than it should (~sigh~) and b) I really don't see myself as the sort of person who takes everything deadly seriously -- quite the opposite! I worry that sometimes I'm too quick to jump for a pun (usually innuendo) and don't always think whether it'd be better to keep my mouth shut; I'm not labouring under the delusion that what I do all day counts for tuppence in the much-vaunted Grand Scheme of Things (why isn't this Grand Scheme documented anywhere, eh?), and I don't make much secret of the fact. It is all a game; if we make a mess of it, nobody dies. But if a game is being played, I want to try to play the game, or just say "no thanks, I'd rather not play" -- not sit on the sidelines sniping at the participants, or play in a way that spoils the fun for everybody else; if I'm playing, I'll try to play within the context of the rules (playing by the rules is not breaking the rules; playing within the context of the rules is breaking them only in ways which will be understood by the participants as breaking the rules -- it's the difference between slipping an ace up your sleeve and, say, breaking up the card table with an axe, or getting up and going to the pub instead without a word of apology when it's my turn to play). I guess I do take what I do seriously, in the sense that I try to do it to the best of my limited abilities; and that applies to the process of working as well as the individual tasks of work. If you're going to have a meeting at all, don't make it a waste of everybody's time; if you're going to write project plans and report back to someone on progress, you have to at least pretend that the reports mean something. Otherwise it's like running a roleplaying game where people can just say "What are you talking about? You didn't cast a spell on me, you just rolled a couple of dice". You have to have some kind of collective suspension of disbelief; you have to believe in the fourth wall, even just a little bit, in order to break it successfully.

Maybe for some people it is more fun to undermine the game to the extent that nobody can enjoy playing it. Maybe that's their game. I don't want to play their game. But not wanting to play their game is a move in their game. (R. D. Laing totally had this one nailed. I wouldn't dream of trying to compete.)

So, I don't like being called humourless; and I don't like feeling that everything I spend my day doing is under some kind of managerial planning blight. But apart from that, Mrs Lincoln...?

Perhaps you're hoping that all this was a digression and that the real point of the post would be How I Made The Black Dog Lose Its Grip (in which the Heroine kicks the DOG in the teeth & sends it Howling into the Outer Darkness without so much as scuffing her patent-leather SHOES, &c), but no. It's still scratching at the door, and work still feels like an unstructured mess, and I'm still feeling as frayed as those metaphorical trousers (or should that be TROUSERS). The ability to weave a spun-sugar web of words around the problem doesn't change the hard centre. Traces, as they persist in saying, of nuts.

Of course, thinking about it probably makes it worse. I guess the same goes for writing about it.

Perhaps I shouldn't take everything so seriously.
j4: (badgers)
We finally bought a lawnmower and mowed the lawn. That is, we mowed the area we're choosing to call the lawn, in the hope that a combination of linguistic imperialism and rotating knives will gradually tame the lawless forces of nature. Significant portions of the "lawn" were in fact large clumps of nettles and brambles, dark forests and thickets among the rolling fields of the rest of the garden; one corner was almost entirely bindweed; and another was a sad little rubbish-heap of stones and tiles and bits of wood.

Some of the nettles succumbed to the mower, others got secateured down to the ground, some lived to sting my wrists another day (three-quarter-length sleeves and short gardening gloves are a bad combination for nettle-wrangling). I pulled up about a mile of bindweed (and removed a pot of paint from underneath it), hacked back a few brambles (eating the blackberries first) and sorted through the miniature midden: a heap of broken tiles, some lumps of concrete, several half-bricks, some scrappy pieces of wood and MDF, a couple of plastic bottle-lids, an old cigarette lighter, and a large curved white bone like a rib. Bleached bones and stony rubbish. My own tiny waste land.

In the process of attacking the abode of stones and the pit of vines I uprooted an army of woodlice, several small spiders, one enormous spider (the sort so big that I could hear its feet clacking on the wood of the fence as it stalked indignantly out of reach), two small brownish frogs, an even smaller yellowish frog which sprang up out of the chickweed like a jack-in-the-box, small yellow-shelled snails and even smaller slugs, a tiny caterpillar all curled up like a soft green ammonite, and a couple of huge hairy caterpillars which seemed to be doing their best to battle the bindweed by eating it all.

To the spiders and frogs I must be Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds. No, nothing so important, just some sudden hairy mammal crashing oafishly through their threads and burrows. I hate wrecking these little ecosystems, I would love to leave the beetles and caterpillars to their business and take my big feet of fail elsewhere; but like the rest of my species I was born selfish, and the creatures were in the space that will be my vegetable patch, and the nettles and brambles were in the space that will be my tidy little English lawn (or at least some soft grass to sit on in summer). I have never been a committed gardener; I hack at things in fits and starts, small splashes of effort followed by long stagnant periods of apathy, and I think underlying the surface laziness (and the general sense of futility which taints all tasks which are explicitly fighting entropy) is a feeling that my attempts to curate the wilderness are not just hubristic but an offence against the order of things. It doesn't help that the only plants I recognise are weeds: I can pick out our groundsel, chickweed, nettles, dandelions, bindweed, brambles, rosebay willowherb ... but show me a 'proper' plant and I'll shrug in confusion. I like the look of the bright flowers and well-defined leaves of well-ordered gardens, but I know the raggedy plants that grow out from under things. I pull them up in handfuls every now and then out of some misplaced sense of duty, but they grow back in a heartbeat.

Every time I lifted a stone, something small scurried out from underneath it, rushing around in the unwelcome light, a many-legged burst of busy energy, until it found another dark hiding place.

I think part of my problem is that I empathise too much with the insects.
j4: (dirigible)
Sorry I've not said much lately. We're a week away from moving house and I'm in a state of neurotic despair about the whole thing. And I'm going to tell you about it in tedious detail whether you like it or not. )
j4: (hair)
I feel like I'm retreating further and further into some kind of shell.

The weekend was horrible, not least because I spent most of it doubled up with stomach pain. Had about 3 hours' sleep last night, agonised about whether to go into work this morning (illness is unlikely to be anything infectious and I'll be in just as much pain if I stay home and do nothing, possibly worse because I won't have things to take my mind off it), eventually decided that if I dragged myself in for the (mildly important) meeting at 9am I could always go home afterwards.

The first thing my office-mate said when I got in was "Good weekend?" ("Not really, but at least it's over now.") I know you're not supposed to tell the truth in response to that sort of question, it's nothing to do with information-gathering, but I'm generally too shattered to think of convincing lies. I suppose I ought to get into the habit of giving a non-committal "Yeah, not bad" no matter what.

Meeting was productive, but the boss thinks that the reason I'm ill is "stress" and thinks I "may be in the wrong sort of job". Yes, I am stressed; being in discomfort and pain a lot of the time tends to make most people less-than-relaxed, I would have thought. But now I'm worrying about getting fired for being ill as well. (Yes, I know they can't fire you for being ill, but in straitened circumstances they're less likely to make an effort to keep the flaky sickly people, & the effect is the same.) The boss probably sees more of my emotional angst than a lot of people, but that's only because I've trusted him enough to talk to him; we seem to get on well most of the time, I've come to see him as a friend as well as a colleague (though I'm wary of using the word because it suggests some kind of reciprocality & it seems presumptuous to assume that). Now I feel like I shouldn't have given that trust so readily, and I worry that it'll just end up being used against me.

When I get up in the morning, I don't want to go to work. (I always do, though, because I know what happens if that starts seeming like an option instead of a necessity.) When it gets to the end of the day, I don't want to go home. (See above.) I am so deeply and bone-wearily tired that the effort of context-switching is just too much. If you gave me a reasonably comfortable place to sit and a simple task that would take 10 years to complete, I would probably just sit there and complete it.

It's getting harder and harder to talk to anybody about anything (online or offline). I feel like I'm watching the conversations from the other side of a pane of glass. There are a handful of conversations which I can have on autopilot, mostly set-piece rants or hilarious catchphrase-trading.

I feel as though I still have something to say but no way to say it.

I'll take a quiet life. Retreating into my shell.


Mar. 24th, 2007 06:54 pm
j4: (back)
I've lost an earring. It's like this one, only lost.

They were probably my all-time favourite pair of earrings; purple (always good), made out of that paint-on latex stuff (really light, didn't lacerate my neck by bashing against it in windy weather), neat zig-zags that could look indie-ish when necessary but also quite plain and smart when worn with normal clothes. And they only cost a fiver. Unfortunately I can't remember the name of the place I bought them from: it was a stall at Erotica two years ago, but apart from the earrings I can't remember if they were selling latex stuff or silly spiky jewellery or both or what. If anybody can tell me where I can buy a replacement, I'll be enormously grateful. I know there are millions of goth/fetish (punk emo alternative lolita gay rockabilly DIY BNWT L@@K!) shops that do things like this, but I've been looking around the web for ages and can't find another pair of these anywhere.

also, a load of boring emo which you can skip )

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